Romy and Michele: In the Beginning (2005) — Blondes have all the prequels

“Why am I the only one who sees how great I am?”

Justin’s rating: Somewhere, deep in parts of my brain that are slowly rotting in decay, this movie occupies unwanted space. I am not OK with that.

Justin’s review: Back when I lived in Colorado and daily forged a path to my log cabin with the aid of my trusty pet bear Schnoz, I remember the first time I heard a pack of coyotes (which people out there call kai-oats for some reason). The sound was so distinctive that it couldn’t help but strangely remind me of a school hallway packed full of giggling, jabbering girls. So soothing, in fact, that I was quickly lulled to sleep by that shrill sound, sent packing for a night full of terror-saturated dreams.

I don’t think it’s a fluke that a pack of girls and a pack of wild dogs sound similar. Not having a large enough quantity of estrogen in my body, I can’t exactly say why, when you increase the number of girls together in the same room, the sound level increases exponentially in both decibels and octaves. Maybe it’s a cruel experiment by bored alien overlords.

But whatever it is, its potent power runs completely through the effort of this annoying TV prequel to Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. Picture a gaggle of loudly giggling girls, and then stretch that for about two hours with commercial breaks. That’s Romy and Michele: In The Beginning. None of the fun of the original, but five times as fatty for your mind.

In the spirit of all sequels/prequels looking to cash a quick buck on a semi-successful movie where the original stars said “No freaking way” to a second endeavor, In The Beginning gives us second-rate copies of the original actors and hangs on to a few key jokes from its predecessor with all the desperation of a guy pining for his first ex-girlfriend three years after the break-up. The first movie was a breezy, smart “dumb” movie that managed to find a balance between cloying Valley Girl speak and guilty pleasure. The second… well, “made for TV.” Do you need more evidence?

Set back in 1987, Romy (Katherine Heigl) and Michele (Alex Breckenridge) leave their Midwestern town for the great (and by “great” I mean “cesspool”) city of Los Angeles. The actresses certainly must have studied long hours to nail their two character traits flat: California lingo and ditzy idiocy. This is pretty much all they do for the whole of the flick, a non-electronic version of Pong between the girls talking in faux, “like, you know, gag me with a spoon!” and being the role models for millions of suicidal lemmings.

As with most sequels/prequels with substitute actors, Heigl and Breckenridge try far too hard to mimic their predecessors’ mannerisms, and it shows. They end up embarrassing themselves more than if they spent the whole two hours with large pee patches on the front of their pants.

The “plot” rambles along as a series of boring, tried-and-true afternoon family special vignettes. The girls can’t get into a really cool dance club (the Roxbury perhaps?) and that bums them out. The girls end up house-sitting and make sexually confused passes at the guys who live in the complex. The girls find two pairs of garishly red shoes in the dumpster and keep them, even though they were stolen from a rich, nasty lady. The girls befriend a model who’s just using them to make herself feel better.

What there really needed to be in this film was a guy — I’ll call him Stucky — who would make a cameo appearance on the screen every time one of the girls said something dumb, laughed and rolled their eyes. Stucky’s role would be to deliver a powerful “BOO!” to whichever girl dared to annoy me thus, and then bow quickly out of frame, readying his voice for the next time he’s needed. That may sound callous, but I’m willing to bet you never served a tour of duty with these two succubae.

It took such sheer effort of will to actually force myself to cross the finish line of this movie without cheating that I accidentally developed the side ability to levitate with my mind alone. Is that a ringing endorsement, or what?

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